Tectonic Geopolitical Shift? The China-Russia-US Strategic Triangle in the Trump Era

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 -
12:15pm to 1:45pm
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CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S354

Resurgent China-Russia relations have formed a new and major factor in global politics over the last decade and especially in the last few years.  The current world order has come to resemble in some disturbing respects the two distinct and hostile camps that characterized the early Cold War period.  Indeed, accelerating cooperation between Moscow and Beijing in the military, diplomatic, and economic spheres has been widely seen as a major threat to US national security.  While scholars have actively debated whether these steps toward enhanced strategic cooperation are merely symbolic and paper over major differences, few have challenged the basic premise that the Middle Kingdom’s financial heft taken together with the Kremlin’s agile diplomatic maneuvers could form a significant challenge to the West.  However, the surprise election of Donald Trump may appear to disrupt the unfolding logic described above.  Undoubtedly, a rapprochement between Washington and Moscow that mitigates or even eradicates the sense of a “New Cold War” would impact on the other key lattices of the classic strategic triangle:  both Russia-China relations as well as the all-important US-China relationship.  This talk will draw on unique Chinese and Russian source material to evaluate the prospects for such a major tectonic geopolitical shift.

Prof. Lyle J. Goldstein is an associate professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), which was established at U.S. Naval War College in October 2006 to improve mutual understanding and maritime cooperation with China. He served as the founding director of CMSI from 2006 to 2011.  For this service, he was recently awarded the Superior Civilian Service Medal. He is currently also a visiting fellow of the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University. Proficient in Chinese and Russian, Professor Goldstein has conducted extensive field research in both China and Russia. His research on Chinese security policy, especially concerning maritime development, has been published in China Quarterly, International Security, IISS Survival, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Journal of Strategic Studies, and U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. Professor Goldstein's first book, which compared proliferation crises and focused particularly on Chinese nuclear strategy, was published by Stanford University Press in 2005. He is the co-editor of the books China’s Future Nuclear Submarine Force (2007), China’s Energy Strategy: The Impact on Beijing’s Maritime Policies (2008), China Goes to Sea:  Maritime Transformation in a Comparative Historical Context (2009), China, the US and 21st Century Sea Power:  Defining a Maritime Partnership (2010) and Chinese Aerospace Power:  Evolving Maritime Roles (2011). Recently, his research has focused on various quandaries in U.S.-China relations, including the imperative to enhance maritime cooperation. He earned a PhD from Princeton University in 2001 and has an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Dr. Vitaly Kozyrev is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Endicott College, Beverly, MA. In 2014-15 he was an Asia Studies Fellow at the East West Center, Washington, DC, and also a Senior Fellow at the Davis Center of Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University. He taught at Amherst College, Yale University, Moscow State University, and at a number of universities in China and Taiwan. His recent publications include chapters for the following monograph studies: East Asia: Increasing but Informal Integration  (Routledge, 2014), The Chinese Labyrinth: Exploring China’s Model of Development (Roman and Littlefield-Lexington, 2011), China’s Energy Strategy: The Impact on Beijing’s Maritime Policies (Naval Academy Press, 2009), Normalization of U.S.-China Relations: An International History (Harvard University Press, 2006), The Modern History of China (Ksiegarnia Akademicka, Krakow, 2006). His research interests are Great Power politics in Eurasia and Russo-Chinese relations. He is affiliated with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University as Associate in Research.


Lyle Goldstein, Associate Professor, US Naval War College
Vitaly Kozyrev, Associate Professor of Political Science, Endicott College, Beverly, MA

Cosponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.